Recipe: No Pasta Zucchini Lasagna

My boyfriend and I are both on a health kick (with a couple of cheat days sprinkled in for Giordano’s deep dish pizza, because we do live in Chicago, after all), so I decided to try for a low carb version of lasagna.  I grew up eating a ton of Italian food, so anything with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese makes me feel homey and content.  With the weather actually behaving itself in Chicago before it zips to 100+ degrees, I decided to make my take on a light, springy (last day!), no pasta vegetarian lasagna.

The key to this dish is layering traditional veggie lasagna components between thin slices of zucchini.  Since zucchini has a mild flavor and slightly crunchy texture, it acts as a great substitute for pasta.

Ingredients (makes one 11×7″ pan):

2 medium-sized zucchini, cut into thin strips

1/2 package of organic spinach/arugula blend, chopped

1 medium-sized red onion, diced

1 tsp garlic, diced

1 15 oz. container of fat-free ricotta cheese

1 bottle of your favorite tomato sauce, (I used Trader Joe’s Arrabiata sauce)

3 tbsp Fat-free, low moisture Mozzarella cheese

Italian spices to taste, (I used Costco’s Tuscan Blend)

Crushed red pepper to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1) Salt the zucchini.  This step is KEY because it allows the zucchini to stay crunchy without releasing too much water and making the dish sloppy

Pre-salted zucchini

Pre-salted zucchini

– Cut the zucchini into thin, uniform slices as seen in the photo above

– Lightly salt the zucchini and place it in a colander, with something heavy placed atop paper towels to drain out the water. (Thanks college psych book!)

– Let this sit for a few hours, if possible.  If you don’t have the time, wring the zucchini slices in paper towels before layering

Salted zucchini

Salted zucchini

2) Chop onions, garlic, and spinach and set aside

Chopped onionsphoto_2

3) Sautee onions and garlic, adding spinach when onions turn slightly translucent

4) Add Italian seasoning and crushed pepper

5) When cooked, turn off heat and fold in ricotta cheese until the veggies, spices, and cheese are mixed through

Ricotta cheese mixture

Ricotta cheese mixture

6) Start layering ingredients!  (I started with a thin coat of sauce so the other ingredients didn’t stick to the pan)

– I layered sauce, zucchini, cheese mixture and repeated

7) Finish with a final layer of sauce and mozzarella cheese

No pasta zucchini lasagna

No pasta zucchini lasagna

That’s it!  If you try this, please let me know what you think.  What are your favorite spring/summer, low-carb recipes?


Recipe: 10 Ingredient Curried Broccoli & Greens Stir Fry

Eating healthy is not always (read: barely ever) easy.  By the time I’m on my way home from work, I’m usually exhausted and thinking about cheese fries with giardiniera or pizza or chocolate… The list goes on.  It doesn’t help that Chicago is home to some amazing grub food (lookin’ at you, Mr. Greek’s in the West Loop).  Sadly, neither my waistline nor general health would be positively affected if I ate what I wanted all the time, so I try to come up with tasty, healthy recipes at home.

Cooking is one of my favorite ways to de-stress.  Life makes sense in the kitchen and I walk away with a finished product that is (hopefully!) tasty and from the heart.  Tweaking recipes and creating something new is always fun.  I especially enjoy cooking for my boyfriend and family, but cooking for myself allows me to test out new recipes that I can eventually make for them.

I’ve had a new bottle of S&B Oriental curry powder in my pantry for awhile, bought on a tip from the great food blog Veggie Belly.  Tonight, I made a quick, healthy stir fry of curried broccoli and power greens.  I improvised, so it’s a sort of Indian/Asian fusion.  Leafy greens are a great source of fiber, minerals, and protein, while broccoli is high in antioxidants.  But more importantly, this stir fry is delicious and uses only ten ingredients!  You can whip it up in fifteen minutes.

Ingredients (serves 1):

– 1 small head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces

– 1 cup mixed power greens (baby kale, spinach, and red/green chard)

– 2 tsp S&B Oriental Curry Powder

– 2 tsp of peanut butter

– 4 tbsp of soy sauce

– 2 tsp of Sriracha sauce (omit if you don’t want this to be too spicy)

– 2 cloves garlic, minced

– Small piece of ginger, minced

– Chili sesame oil to sautee

– 1 tsp honey

– Optional: 1-2 tbsp water

photo-2

Method:

1) Sautee the garlic and ginger in the chili oil until fragrant

2) Add the broccoli and greens, sauteeing until they start to heat up

3) Add the curry powder and mix

4) Add the soy sauce and mix

5) Add peanut butter, making sure to stir until veggies are coated

6) Add honey and mix

7) At this point, if the veggies are looking a bit too thick, add 1-2 tbsp of water to thin

I paired with brown rice for a simple, healthy dinner.  If you have extra, put the mixture in a pita bread pocket for lunch the next day.

Leave a comment letting me know what you think if you try this recipe!